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Management of Immigration Cases and Appeals by the Executive Office for Immigration Review

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2012
80 pages
This report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviews the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) regarding its processing and management of immigration cases and appeals that involve foreign-born individuals (aliens) charged with violating immigration laws.
EOIR courts are responsible for determining whether aliens charged by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with immigration violations should be ordered removed from the United States or be granted relief from removal, which would allow them to remain in this country. The investigation concluded that EOIR does not collect and report complete performance data about the immigration courts, which can conceal problems and overstate accomplishments; for example, EOIR excludes nearly a third of immigration court cases from being measured in the performance reports that it uses to track the timely completion of cases. In addition, EOIR discontinued timeliness goals for non-detained cases. It now has timeliness goals only for detained cases and asylum cases, even through some courts have few, if any, detained cases. EOIR also reports cases as completed even when no decisions have been made on whether to remove the aliens from the United States. From fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2010, the volume of immigration cases received outpaced many immigration courts' capability to process the cases in a timely manner, even though there was an increase in the number of judges. Cases, especially those involving non-detained aliens, can take a long time to complete. This crowds court calendars and delays processing of new cases. Over the 5-year period reviewed, the number of cases pending 1 year or more increased by 85 percent. In order to improve its case processing and provide accurate and complete information on case processing, the OIG offers nine recommendations. 13 figures, 3 tables and 6 appendixes with more detailed supplementary information